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Pacific Asia Express / Mariana Express Lines is due to start a fortnightly container shipping service calling at the Port of Gladstone from next month.

Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan said a regular container liner to service the Port of Gladstone had been one of the organisation's key focuses as it worked  to further develop and diversify trade across its three ports.

"We are advised that from next month, Pacific Asia Express / Mariana Express Lines will be commencing a fortnightly service calling at the Port of Gladstone, en route to Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Qindao, China, and with links to other parts of the world," he said.

"The regular container liner service has received a lot of positive interest, particularly within the central Queensland region.

"While GPC handles containers currently through Swires Shipping, this will be an additional liner service to the port." 

 The first arrival from the new service is scheduled to reach Gladstone on July 13.

 Gladstone port attracts new container service
A 550-tonne stacker and a 1700-tonne reclaimer arrived at Weipa this month for the $2.6 billion Amrun bauxite project.

The delivery marked the culmination of a 16-month fabrication effort by Western Australian-based Civmec and a nine-day voyage on a heavy lift vessel.

Rio Tinto Amrun project general manager Marcia Hanrahan said the remoteness of the Amrun site on cape York meant the safest and most efficient approach had been to fabricate the infrastructure into large-scale modules.

“The infrastructure has created employment on both sides of Australia with fabrication and part-commissioning of the modules generating 150 jobs for West Australians and 100 jobs for Queenslanders who will construct and fully commission the units now they have arrived at site,” she said.

“The achievement is another example of our commitment to showcasing best practice Australian manufacturing expertise, delivering local jobs, and providing a boost to the Australian economy.”

As at the first quarter of 2018, the Amrun project directly and indirectly spent more than $2 billion with 1130 Australian suppliers, including 727 Queensland businesses (with 71 Western Cape businesses and 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses among them).

The function of the stacker is to receive bauxite after it is processed and build stockpiles ready to be loaded onto ships. The reclaimer then collects or ‘reclaims’ bauxite from the stockpiles and delivers the product via conveyor to the shiploader which loads bulk carrier vessels.

The Amrun site team is expected to take six months to assemble and commission the machines.

The shiploader is the final piece of infrastructure outstanding for the project and is expected to be shipped from Western Australia mid-year

Production and shipping from the Amrun project are expected to commence in the first half of 2019, ramping up to full production by the end of the year.

Stacker-reclaimer modules shipped to the Cape
Genex Power has secured a term sheet for up to $516 million in concessional finance from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to support its Kidston Stage 2 project in north Queensland.

The company has already commissioned Stage 1 (K1), a 50MW solar project at the former Kidston gold mine.

Stage 2 includes a planned 250MW pumped storage hydro project, combined with up to 270MW further large-scale solar generation, and Stage 3 would add up to 150MW of wind power at the $1 billion Kidston Renewable Energy Hub.

Genex chief executive officer James Harding described securing the NAIF support as a significant milestone in the development of the project.

“We wish to thank NAIF for their strong support and look forward to working with them over the coming months as we move towards achieving financial close in the latter half of the year,” Mr Harding said.

Genex has been advancing an early contractor involvement process with UGL for K2-Solar and with McConnell Dowell/John Holland Joint Venture (JV) for K2-Hydro. The JV has selected ANDRITZ, an international tier-one
supplier in hydraulic power generation, as the preferred electromechanical equipment supplier, including reversible Francis pump-turbines.

The Genex funding represents the most significant investment decision so far from the NAIF.

NAIF chief executive officer Laurie Walker said the finance support would assist Genex to advance its discussions with other project counterparties and to prove up project fundamentals.

“This is a demonstration of how NAIF can work with stakeholders to help them understand how its concessional financing can support the development of a project which has the potential to provide substantial benefits to Northern Australia,” she said.

“NAIF sees the project as important for the transition of the market to lower emission renewable energy sources, and the board’s preparedness to consider a capital commitment of the size referred to in this announcement reflects the alignment of this type of project with NAIF’s objective to contribute to the transformation of Northern Australia through infrastructure development.”

The NAIF term sheet is subject to conditions and terms including:
  • negotiating offtake arrangements and grid connection for energy and dispatch rights to the satisfaction of NAIF;
  • concluding a cost-benefit analysis in accordance with the provisions of the NAIF Investment Mandate, which will be important in determining the level of concessionality that NAIF can offer the project;
  • finalising terms for senior debt funding;
  • securing the balance of equity funding from an acceptable partner;
  • due diligence on a range of project issues;
  • negotiation and execution of project and facility documentation; and
  • final NAIF credit approval and board investment decision.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided $8.9 million to support the construction of Genex’s KS1 Project, and up to $9 million in funding to support the development of K2-Solar and K2-Hydro.

The Queensland Government has provided a 20-year revenue support deed for KS1 through the Solar 150 Program and designated the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub as ‘Critical Infrastructure’ to the State.

NAIF backing for $1b NQ energy project
The Lorena gold mine joint venture is investigating pit design modifications to increase the mineable resources.

A preliminary re-design of the pit, based on an updated block model, has shown that a cut-back to the south-east corner of the pit could deliver up to an additional 9000ozs of gold at an average grade of 4-4.5g/t, according to Malachite Resources.

The economics of carrying out the cut back were encouraging, with further work underway to confirm the viability of revising the pit for mining purposes, the company said.

The Lorena gold project, 15km east of Cloncurry, is a joint venture between Malachite (55 per cent), Cloncurry Gold Recovery Management  (30 per cent) and Ore Processing Services (15 per cent).

Commissioning of the project was substantially completed in the March 2018 quarter and the first gold pour was announced in early April.

In May, the decision was made to temporarily suspend mining operations from the pit with the aim of resuming mining activities later in the year,  Malachite said.

This came as sufficient ore had been stockpiled on the ROM pad to provide feed to the processing plant for about six months and while the issue of pit design was determined.

Lorena mine has designs on more gold
The State Government has stepped in after a $1.2 billion tourism development proposal for Hummock Hill Island in central Queensland was knocked back by the Gladstone Regional Council.

State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said he had approved the move following a request by proponent Eaton Place for the Coordinator-General to use his legislative step-in powers.

It comes after the local council’s rejection of the development application in May and an appeal by the proponent to the Planning and Environment Court. 

“In the Planning and Environment Court, the Gladstone Regional Council and the proponent, Eaton Place, could be arguing for three to four years,” Mr Dick said.

“That adds a lot of cost, time and uncertainty to both parties and to the ratepayers of Gladstone.

“Using step-in powers a new decision should be concluded in a matter of months.”

The proposal is for an integrated, master-planned resort on Hummock Hill Island in Rodds Bay, 30km south-east of Gladstone.

Plans include resort hotels, holiday units and camping grounds for about 2800 people, and potential permanent housing for up to 1200 people, with education and village precincts, boat ramps, beach access, an 18-hole golf course, retail outlets and a bridge to the mainland.

If approved, the project is expected to generate an average of 190 jobs a year on the island over the 17-year construction period and deliver 700 direct tourism and related industry jobs when fully developed.

Second chance for tourism proposal
Pembroke Resources has lodged its mining lease application and this week reached an agreement with traditional owners as it drives the $1 billion Olive Downs Coking Coal Project towards production.

Pembroke Resources chief executive officer and managing director Barry Tudor said tenders were already out for early works for the project including haul roads, development of the rail loop and spur from the Norwich Park line, water pipeline extension, electricity provision, and construction of the coal washplant and related mine-site infrastructure.

“We’re spending a significant amount of money in areas we can so that when the mining lease is granted we can hit the ground running,” Mr Tudor said.

The project is fully funded and Mr Tudor expected to be well advanced in awarding tenders by the fourth quarter of the year.

Allowing about 12 months for the approvals process and a further year for construction, he expects to be in production at the Moranbah mining complex lease in the first half of 2020.

The complex is expected to begin its life with an output of about 4.5 Mtpa product coal (6Mtpa ROM) and will ramp up to 15Mtpa product coal (about 20Mtpa ROM).

Pembroke Resources expects construction to generate 500-700 jobs and the ongoing operation will employ about 1000 people at full capacity.

Mining will start in the Olive Downs South deposit and advance to Willunga.

The Indigenous Land Use Agreement was executed with the Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation on Wednesday.

Tenders out as $1b coal project advances